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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
You need to dive deep -- and fast!
Whatever you're doing, dig in as deeply as possible until you think you're close to hitting bottom.
This applies whether you're in a yoga class or trying to work the kinks out of a personal relationship.
You can't settle for surface solutions or superficial answers today, no matter how quick and easy they seem -- and you really understand the value of building things that last.
Some of our readers today have been in:
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Darmstadt, Hessen, Germany
London, England, United Kingdom
Coffs Harbor, New South Wales, Australia
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Karlskrona, Blekinge Lan, Sweden
Dordrecht, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
Vienna, Wien, Austria
Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Bremen, Bremen, Germany

as well as Turkey, and the United States in such cities as Brockway, Sheboygan, Agawam, Durham and more

Today is Tuesday, May 25, the 14fth day of 2010.
There are 220 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
Cookie Monster's Birthday
Nerd Pride Day or Geek Pride Day

Happy Towel Day! Don't forget your towel!

Happy Towel Day, Douglas Adams fans! "On the 25th of May, carry a towel. Where? Everywhere! Proudly show the world you've observed Towel Day and upload a picture to Flickr, tagging it with 'towelday' or make a YouTube video."

It happened today ...

Babe Ruth hit the 714th and final home run of his career, for the Boston Braves, in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1935.

Tomorrow Never Knows

The Beatles



News of the positive sort

News of the positive sort
John Rheinberger began his ambitious effort to see the world more than 35 years ago.
The mother of Sarah Shourd reveals how Shane Bauer proposed to her daughter while in jail. 

Outdoor Foundation Report 2010 Wonder photo
Photo: Kennan Harvey for Outdoor Industry Association
The US Outdoor Foundation have just released their Outdoor Recreation Participation report and the results, whilst not stupendous, are at least encouraging. Participation in "core" outdoor sports and activities was seen to have increased 3.3% from 97.5 million to 100.7 million Americans ages 6 and above. For example, day hiking remained strong, with 32.6 million participants, though overnight backpacking did exhibit a small drop. However general camping increased almost 2%.
The activity with one of the most significant increase was snowshoeing, which recorded a jump of 17.4% from 2.9 million to 3.4 million. (And from a treehuggery point of view it is exciting to note that snowmobiling was the only monitored winter sport to show a decline.)

The Hubba Hubba Factor

 Hayden Panettiere has the Hubba Hubba Factor

And I Quote

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain - and most fools do.
~ Dale Carnegie

As The World Turns

As The World Turns
Cops Attack Jamaican Drug Lord's Stronghold
More than 1,000 police and soldiers assaulted a public housing complex occupied by heavily armed gangsters defending an alleged drug lord wanted by the U.S.
A survey of 2,000 millionaires around the globe reveals fascinating differences.
Eyjafjallajökull is settling down
But everyone is still holding their breath on the much larger neighbor, Katla. Historically, when Eyjafjallajökull blows, so does Katla. Air travel still sounds questionable and is likely to stay in this state for months to come.
There has been a marked drop in the volcanic activity in Iceland that has disrupted flights across Europe for more than a month, and observers say the volcano "appears to be dormant".

Icelandic scientists said that their latest readings at Eyjafjallajökull found little eruption activity, although they warned it was too early to say it was completely over.

Heat camera footage from early indicated that the temperature inside the crater had dropped to 100C, meaning the volcano is now producing steam rather than magma and ash, according to the status report issued by the Icelandic Met Office and Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland.
Champs Elysées goes down to the country farm
French farmers organized a massive event on the Champs Elysées, during the long weekend holiday. I generally avoid that area at all costs because it's overpriced, sterile and is a magnet for crime. It's been quite a hit and has drawn large crowds. French farms still have a small, family farm feel compared to the massive, corporate owned farms of the US but it's changing. More from

The Guardian:
By bringing in 8,000 plots of earth and 150,000 plants to the city and installing them, amid sheep and cattle, along three-quarters of a mile of the thoroughfare, struggling farmers are attempting to highlight an aspect of French life which they believe is too often overlooked by Paris.

In the ravages of a crisis which has seen production costs soar and product prices fall, representatives of the agricultural sector say farmers are being brought to their knees.

But William Villeneuve, president of the young farmers' union, insisted the greening of the Champs Elysées was more a celebration than a protest.

"We are not here to bemoan our plight," he said. "We are here to promote our trade." The farmers wanted to make French consumers reflect on "what they have on their plates" and how it got there, he added.
Ex-cop claims Uribe's brother led death squad
President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia BOGOTA, Colombia a ' A retired police major said Monday that Colombian President Alvaro Uribe's younger brother commanded a right-wing death squad in the early 1990s from the family's cattle ranch.

The State Of The Nation

The State Of The Nation
FBI details surge in death threats against lawmakers

What a surprise, Lush Dimbulb's and Shewan Handjob's names came up:
In February 2009, a man left voice mail messages for Stabenow in several of her Michigan offices.

“We’re gonna [expletive] get you,” he said in one message. “We’re gonna get you with a lot of [expletive] bolt action. Like we did RFK; like we did MLK. We know who you are. We’ll get you.”

FBI agents tracked the calls to a 54-year-old Texas man who lived alone — and who at one time had owned a 20-gun arsenal of handguns, shotguns and rifles. According to the documents, he told officers that he was “really, really drunk” when he made the calls. He said he was just “venting” — taking out his frustrations after hearing a discussion of the Fairness Doctrine and becoming concerned that the government would attempt to abolish the radio shows of Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.
And it's getting worse:
In testimony submitted to Congress, Capitol Police officials have said that the threats against lawmakers have caused them to dramatically increase their security efforts. Police who work on protective details say demands on their time have skyrocketed, and the department has requested a 54 percent increase — of $2.7 million — to fund travel for its dignitary protection officers in fiscal year 2011.

In fiscal year 2009, dignitary protection was provided at 139 congressional events, a nearly 100 percent increase over 2008. Capitol Police also moved to provide “a more robust role” to town hall meetings, including working with hundreds of law enforcement agencies.

Capitol Police made 3,626 mountain bike patrols around House and Senate office buildings, up from 3,500 from fiscal year 2008. They responded to 142 suspicious packages in 2009, compared with only 34 in 2008, and conducted 1,808 bomb sweeps, compared with 970 the year before.
The repugicans have bet the bank on turning the country against government, in the hopes that it will get the Democrats unelected. Except that the kooks are hearing the repugican's message, about Obama being a socialist, about there being Maoists in the Cabinet, about Obama wanting to kill your grandma, and they're responding accordingly

Row as US pupils don Ku Klux Klan robes
A teacher in Georgia has been suspended after allowing students to dress in mock Ku Klux Klan robes for a project.

Local Hospitality

Local Hospitality

North Carolina officials say the poor economy prompted the state to take advantage of a federal option to ease income requirements. 

Edible schoolyard opens in NC
A one of a kind schoolyard opened for children on Saturday.
The Greensboro Children Museum's Edible Schoolyard opened.

Need any help derailing the campaign?
Repugicans try to upend NC campaign backed by tea party
Repugican officials are working to derail the campaign of a tea party supported candidate in North Carolina - circulating documents from the man's messy divorce that depict him as a pot smoker who has called himself the messiah.

On The Job

On The Job
A full three-quarters of executives who've reached the corner office share one quality.
Likable employees often see fewer raises and promotions, new research finds.  
For the first time since 2008, more people are voluntarily quitting than being fired or laid off. 

Boy Dies After Fulfilling Last Wish

A local boy fulfilled his last wish -- a visit to Sea World -- only to lose his battle with heart trouble at the park.

Ever had one of those days ...

 Mike Curb Congregation

 Burning Bridges
"Friends all tried to warn me
But I held my head up high
All  the time they warned me
But I only passed them by
They all tried  to tell me
But I guess I didn't care
I turned my back and
Left  them standing there

All the burning bridges that have fallen  after me
All the lonely feelings and the burning memories
Everyone  I left behind each time I closed the door
Burning bridges lost  forevermore

Joey tried to help me find a job
A while ago
When  I finally got it I didn't want to go
The party Mary gave for me
When  I just walked away
Now there's nothing left for me to say

All  the burning bridges that have fallen after me
All the lonely  feelings and the burning memories
Everyone I left behind each time I  closed the door
Burning bridges lost forevermore

Years have  passed and I keep thinking
What a fool I've been
I look back into  the past and
Think of way back then
I know that I lost everything I  thought I that could win
I guess I should have listened to my  friends

All the burning bridges that have fallen after me
All  the lonely feelings and the burning memories
Everyone I left behind  each time I closed the door
Burning bridges lost forevermore

Burning  bridges lost forevermore"

It's Only The Environment After All

It's Only The Environment After All
More than a month after the oil rig explosion, the ecological impact now stretches 150 miles.  
Libby, in northwestern Montana, is labeled the deadliest Superfund site in U.S. history.

It's The Economy Stupid

It's The Economy Stupid
"The best way to restore confidence in our banks is to take these crooked presidents
   out of the banks and treat them the same as we treated Al Capone."
      ~ Senator Burton Wheeler of Montana (1933) 
These five newly rich men and women have one thing in common: Not a single one spends needlessly.  
"It's the best time in our generation to buy" a home, says one economist.
Europeans fear the end of their most cherished benefits — six weeks of vacation, retirement at 60, etc.  
Tax credits and record low mortgage rates have failed to lift home prices this year.  

LA Post Office Gives Customer Counterfeit One Hundreds

Government Says Yeah, So?
Good to know we're still subsidizing the castles of Wall Street, while this poor slob is told to pound sand.

A business inadvertently gives you counterfeit money — are you stuck with it? In most cases, yes. But what if that business happens to be a branch of the federal government?

Los Angeles resident David Lipin found himself asking this question the other day after he cashed a $1,000 Postal Service money order at a West Hollywood post office.

He said the postal worker handed him 10 $20 bills and eight $100 bills.

Lipin, 43, said he then stopped at a nearby gas station to fill his tank. He tried to pay with one of his new $100 bills.

"The clerk took a close look at it and said it was fake," Lipin told me. "Then she looked at some of the other $100 bills. She said they were fake too, and she called the police."

Alarmed, Lipin phoned a lawyer friend. At his friend's urging, he too called the Los Angeles Police Department to report that he'd been given bogus bills. "I wanted it very clear that I was a victim and not someone trying to pawn off some counterfeit dollars," Lipin said.

The cops arrived at the gas station and inspected the cash. They shook their heads.

"The police said the $100 bills were actually $5 bills that had been bleached and altered," Lipin recalled. "They showed me how you could hold them up to the light and see Abraham Lincoln's face. All eight turned out to be counterfeit."

So now what? The police took a report but said they couldn't do anything. They suggested that Lipin try the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, which serves West Hollywood.

A sheriff's deputy also said they couldn't do much and suggested he try the Secret Service. So did the post office when Lipin returned to the same branch that had given him the funny money.

"We don't have anything in our regulations to address this," said Richard Maher, a spokesman for the Postal Service.

He added that even though Lipin has a receipt showing he cashed his money order at the post office, it's impossible to verify that he received the bogus bills in the transaction. "What if he got them after he left the post office?" Maher asked.

The Secret Service was sympathetic toward Lipin's situation. But an agent basically told him he was out of luck. Unless an investigation turned up a counterfeiting mastermind, the buck would stop with Lipin.

"Unfortunately, counterfeit money is like a hot potato," said Wayne Williams, deputy special agent in charge of the Secret Service's L.A. office. "Whoever ends up with it last is the victim."

Well, yes, but Lipin got his bogus cash from the U.S. Postal Service, redeeming a Postal Service money order. Shouldn't Uncle Sam bear some responsibility?

"Not really," Williams replied. "The post office operates as a business. It takes in money from customers. Postal workers don't really have special equipment or training to spot counterfeit bills. Unless they're in on it, this isn't their responsibility."

So Lipin is hosed?

"He's hosed."

Williams advised anyone who receives questionable cash to stop by a bank and ask what the money pros have to say. If a bill is indeed counterfeit, contact the Secret Service and turn it in to authorities. Maybe they'll be able to find out where it came from, maybe not.

And don't try and be clever by spending the bogus bill elsewhere — passing the hot potato to someone else, as it were.

"If you tried to cash a bill you were told was fake, you could be arrested," Williams warned.

We're talking a felony, by the way, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

German schoolboy pays £15,000 to child bullies

A 10-year-old German boy stole nearly €17,000 (£14,700) from his parents to pay off a series of schoolboy bullies. The boy's ordeal started in March, when a 12-year-old threatened to send his elder brother to attack the younger child if he did not pay.

"Because the older brother is known not to be a softie, the boy was really frightened and always delivered the money," said a police spokesman in Aalen, the town in the southern German state of Baden-Württemberg where the boy lives. One tormentor threatened to send an elder brother to attack him if he did not pay, another sought “protection money” and a third blackmailed the child, demanding cash to keep quiet about the affair.

"Although they do not all go to the same school, they all live in the same place," said the police spokesman. But he said the boys did not act as a group. "It was blackmailing by individuals," he said. Police said the offenders were 11 and 12 and could not be charged because they were under the legal age of responsibility.

"The victim's parents kept large amounts of cash at home. It is difficult to imagine, but the parents did not notice the disappearance of the money," the spokesman said. Only a fraction of the cash has been found; the children spent the rest on computer games, clothes and shoes, police said.

Matador escapes death by skin of his teeth

A matador cheated death by millimeters when the beast he was tormenting rammed its horn straight through his chin and out through his mouth.

It only took a split second for Julio Aparicio to became the bull's bloody victim at a Madrid bullring.

The animal had already been pierced with several banderillas and was close to being killed when he seized his chance of revenge.

Aparicio stumbled and the angry beast charged at him, prompting the crowd at the Las Ventas bullring to gasp in horror - expecting the bull to rip off the fighter's jaw or even his head.

Video contains graphic content.

Remarkably, the beast stepped back and his horn slipped out of the matador's face as swiftly as it had entered. Aparicio fell to the ground in shock, with blood pouring from his gaping wound.

Ringside medics rushed him to hospital where leading surgeon Dr Maximo Garcia Pedros performed two operations which saved his life. The bull was not so fortunate - he was quickly dispatched by fellow matadors.

Now that's just Bizarre

Now that's just Bizarre
photo handfish pink species australia 
Credit: CSIRO
These fish, pardon the pun, need a hand. There are 14 species of fish with hand-like fins. And nine are in danger of extinction. Don't you hate it when you discover something amazing, only to find out that it's almost gone?
Scientists say nine species that walk on the seabed rather than swim may go extinct.
See photos

A flat-faced frogfish with a psychedelic pattern and a "killer" carnivorous sponge are among the top 10 new species discovered in 2009, according to a committee of international scientists.

Non Sequitur


Scientific Minds Want To Know

Scientific Minds Want To Know
The doomed planet, the hottest in the galaxy, is 300 times the size of Earth.
The first organism with a fully synthetic genome could answer one of science's oldest questions.

A new study indicates several species of small hammerhead sharks living today stemmed from one large ancestor living some 20 million years ago, evolving twice at different times and places.

A picture of a burrowing crayfish, Engaeus granulatus

Betelgeuse about to go Supernova

 about to go Supernova</a>
When it collapses, it will be at least as bright as the full moon, and maybe as bright as the sun. For six weeks. So the really lucky folks (for whom Betelgeuse is only visible at night) will get 24 hour days, everybody else will get at least some time with two suns in the sky. The extra hour of light from daylight savings time won't burn the crops, but this might. Probably, all we'll get is visible light (not gamma rays or X-rays), so it shouldn't be an ELE. It's sure gonna freak everyone out, though.....

Planet Earth

Planet Earth
Antarctica's "bleeding" glacier
Taylor Glacier in Antarctica has been known for the blood-like liquid that pours from it since the "Blood Falls" was discovered in 1911.
The eerie waterfall cascades into one of Antarctica's dry valleys—snowless, barren wastes where almost nothing lives.
The Falls—get their color from the dietary habits of microbes, which live in ancient seawater trapped beneath the glacier. They draw their energy from iron deposits leeched from the rocks the slowly moving glacier grinds to dust—leaving the water streaked rust red.
Even more awesome: This is one of the few places on Earth exobiologists can easily study the kind of extreme life—creatures that survive and thrive in incredibly cold, sunlight-free environments—that might also live on other planets.
swimming elephant photo  
Photo via The Telegraph
At 60 year old, Rajan still enjoys taking a dip in the crystal waters off his island home--and he doesn't let the fact that he weighs as much as a large truck slow him down. In fact, Rajan the elephant, and his human swimming companion, Nasru, two years his junior, have become something of a tourist attraction on Havelock Island in the Indian Ocean. It was there, while floating gracefully amid the waves with the unlikely pair, that photographer Cesare Naldi snapped what would become a prize winning shot. But, as with most captivating photographs, there's more to their story than meets the eye.
Rare 'alligator snapping turtle' caught in Chinese lake
A fisherman in China was surprised after catching this striking creature, which looks like a cross between a turtle and a dinosaur. The man discovered the alligator snapping turtle, which is not native to the country, in Weishan Lake, in southern China's Anhui province.

The species is only native to North America and was probably someone's pet before being dumped in the lake, the local fishing department said. The creature's alien status meant that it could have posed a danger to the local ecological system, they added.

Fisherman Sun Yongcheng said he was surprised when he netted the alligator turtle, which measures 76cm long and 30cm wide and weighs 7kg. He said: "I suddenly noticed a black thing was hooked on the net, which scared me. It was struggling and biting the net when I pulled it up".

The spokesman for the Jining Fishing Bureau said this was the first time an alligator snapping turtle had been found in the local water system. He said: "Somebody may have dumped their pet into the lake, which could greatly endanger the local ecology."



Lunatic Fringe

Lunatic Fringe
When dealing with wingnuts ... Remember the rule: 
If they accuse someone of something, then they're already guilty of it.
Rand Paul's Libertarian La-La Land
Not so fast, everybody. Rand Paul can't abruptly disavow the extremist views on civil rights that he's been espousing for years and expect us all to just move along. Was he lying then? Is he lying now? Or has the Tea Party movement's newly crowned Mad Hatter changed his mind?
Another sign of the moronic Arizona law's negative impact
Hacked Traffic Sign: No Latinos, no tacos
A traffic sign flashing the message 'no Latinos, no tacos' caught the eyes of drivers on the Palmetto Expressway in Florida Tuesday morning.
Glen Brick before makeup
From Wonkette:

'Person' On YouTube Does Not Care For Liberals
Look at this fucking psychopath. (Language unsafe for work, school and your intelligence.) [YouTube]

Paranoia Strikes Deep

Paranoia Strikes Deep 
Another *$#@&%* List
A little-known database tracks people who make screeners feel threatened.  

In Matters Of Health

In Matters Of Health
Health factors like disease rate and lifestyle helped determine the winners.  
Steer clear of these belly-bloating beverages and you can lose up to two pounds a week.



Culinary DeLites

Culinary DeLites
Just a tad over detailed ...
Baking appropriate treats for America's troops isn't as easy as making them for family.

Seven quick dinners

This fun and easy shrimp pasta gets a sweet kick with a savory peanut sauce. 

Helpful Hints

Helpful Hints
More home gardeners are turning away from the traditional method of planting.  
A rotten-egg odor can be caused by hydrogen sulfide, but it's generally not harmful.
Your cell phone camera may be the key to getting a refund on a bad hotel room.
In reality, financial aid goes to families who know the "ins and outs of the formula."  

West Virginia: Six million people - one last name

http://boingboing.net/features/whites/header.jpgRead the full story over at Boing Boing. (There are even pictures for those in West Virginia)

Interesting In General

Interesting In General
There are two good reasons not to keep your legs crossed during a flight.
While the U.S. Air Force is mum about the X-37B robotic craft, a band of sleuths is tracking it.
Beware the hybrid bear
hybrid-bear-190.jpgThis from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation shows a hunter from Ulukhaktok, NWT (Population ~400) telling the story of killing a strange bear.
Many hybrid bears have been found recently, with traits of both polar and grizzly bears.